Tasting Highlights’ wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors’ most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.
The current Chianti Classico releases are delivering exciting potential. Following the rich and muscular 2015s and the refined 2016s isn’t easy. But as this week’s selection shows, 2017 is fielding many outstanding examples. And 2018 has offered fruity and accessible wines that are ready to enjoy on release.
The 2017 vintage was hot and dry, resulting in wines with dense tannins that sometimes feel rustic. The best versions strike a nice balance between concentrated fruit, freshness and firm tannins. Mazzei’s vibrant Chianti Classico demonstrates this with dark fruit, earth and spice elements. On the other hand, 2018s are more tender, fruity and juicy, like the intense version from Tenuta Bibbiano. As with many of this week’s highlighted reds, this wine shows that despite rising prices, Chianti Classico remains a good hunting ground for value.
CASTELLO DI VOLPAIA
Chianti Classico Riserva 2017
Score: 92 |$40
WS review: Black currant and blackberry fruit defines this juicy, saturated red, with earth, cedar and tobacco adding accents. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins. Best from 2024 through 2040. 5,000 cases made, 3,500 cases imported.—B.S.
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